Put On Something Warm, We’re Gonna Check Out Toem

Grab your camera and head out to experience Toem. An exploration-focused adventure for all the family. And how.

Believe it or not, I am not a doctor. Despite the lack of professional credentials, I am confident in prescribing you a healthy dose of Toem. Oh, and a bit of Vitamin D as well. You’ve been looking quite pasty of late. Available for PS5, Windows, Mac and the Nintendo Switch, this assortment of words is based on a PS5 playthrough.

Future developers, take note if you want to get in my pants: serve up a black and white aesthetic, along with some customisation, and you can save yourself the pennies on grog and flattery. Toem features both. As you’ll no doubt have seen through screenshots and trailers, the art style combines 2D characters and a 3D world. Simple in design but oh-so-adorable, cuddly and, erm.. tidy.

In the game, you play an aspiring photographer – a proper one, not one of those foodie/selfie types – that lives with their nana. Nana isn’t the lecturing type, and more so on the practical, informing you that to follow the path of photography enlightenment (making that bit up), you have to ascend Kiiruberg’s Peak to experience the phenomenon that is the title of this game.

Toem PS5 Review - My dog has no nose
My dog has no nose. Source: PR

Toem PS5 Review

Entirely a calming experience (unless you can’t find all 54 critters from the base game), there are no hazardous items or threatening behaviour from orcs, cartel members, or hellspawn, nor are there any lives, continues or challenging gameplay mechanics. Armed with a camera that switches to first-person (and can be flipped to take selfies if you’re getting Snapchat withdrawals), you’ll scout out the many room-like scenes, hunting down the wildlife, completing photo challenges for a club, monster-hunting, and promoting local businesses.

The goal of Toem is, of course, to reach the game’s namesake and snap a pic, but as a community-led environment, you’ll complete side quests for NPCs. Aside from the warm, fuzzy feeling of helping others, completing these tasks gives you a stamp on your travel card. Collect the required number of stamps for an area, and the bus will take you to the next place for free. That said, you can’t skip it and pay for it. That’s how the game works. Do note that these free trips aren’t one move only, as you can backtrack should you wish to return to an area to unlock everything or catch up with some NPCs.

As stated, Toem (Something We Made’s debut) isn’t a challenging game in the conventional sense, more so a completionist’s quest. You can still complete the story without finding everything, but it took me over four hours to platinum it at a leisurely pace. Finish the main story, and you’re rewarded with free content and can access a new area called Basto. The game’s chill vibe is so good that I’m confident you’ll binge on it the minute you finish the story.

Toem PS5 Review - Goggly eyes
Goggly eyes. Source: PR

Make It Snappy

Each time you take a photo with your camera, it’s stored in your photo album, which is readily accessible from the menu. With a generous storage of 256, it is possible to delete some if you need the space. It’s enjoyable flicking through the collection, unleashing that inner perfection to go back and retake a pic for completionist’s sake. Naming the photos is an option, and pending you do so before taking the snap, you can change the filters, implement vignettes, fisheyes, and dithers, as well as frames like those seen on Polaroids, to make your images pop, adding to future replayability.

Your character can get a bit of a makeover with a small collection of hats, shoes and masks. More than half of these serve a purpose, such as access to an area, beating elements, etc. But in reality, the feature there is fun to customise your character to walk around with a space helmet and oversized foam finger because you’re too shy to do it in real life. Or are you? It’s just another part of the charming offensive that Toem is on throughout.

Verdict

Far from an exclusive, Toem was released in 2021, but I only just got around to playing it. This isn’t a bit of a website filler – Toem is worth the attention. It’s a lovely game if you want something a bit different, with a chill vibe and the freedom to create without being attacked by a bear with haemorrhoids. Very nice indeed.